The NBA free-agent rush is in full swing, not long after the summer signing period began Tuesday night. Rumors are rampant and dominoes are falling around the Association as all 30 teams battle for the talent looking for new homes.
With the salary cap set to expand greatly in the coming years thanks to the NBA's lucrative television deals, the negotiations are tense this year as superstars and role players alike position themselves to maximize their earnings with short-term deals.
However, not all teams are focusing all of their energies on the free-agency front. There are a few trade rumors flying around, ones that could very well alter a few teams' strategies in major ways.
Let's take a look at a couple of the latest missives from the rumor pipeline.
Tyson Chandler is 32 years old, an excellent defensive center and—if the Dallas Mavericks land one of the league's most coveted free agents—could be on his way out in the Big D.
The Mavericks are in the running for center DeAndre Jordan, an unrestricted free agent who may be set to leave sunny Southern California in pursuit of a larger, more involved role on a new team, per ESPN's Chris Broussard:
"Sources, though, told ESPN that Jordan wants a bigger role in the offense and is tired of being a third wheel behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with the team."
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports that if the Mavs do sign Jordan, they may clear space for him in the frontcourt by offloading Chandler to the Clips:
Chandler is an unrestricted free agent, so if the team wants to swing a sign-and-trade, it might have to move quickly, as Chandler could sense which way the wind is blowing in Dallas and simply strike a deal with a new squad on his own.
|Chandler, Jordan 2014-15 Stats|
|Player||Age (Current)||G||MPG||PPG||FG %||FT %||RPG||BPG||PER|
Jordan is from Houston and played college ball at Texas A&M, so it seems Dallas would have a better chance than most teams in offering the big man a homecoming of sorts. Jordan might indeed get his wish to become a bigger part of a team's offensive game plan if Monta Ellis leaves Dallas, something Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports is a distinct possibility:
However, he might find it difficult to sell himself as a major offensive threat with his disastrous free-throw percentage. Dallas would be hard pressed to justify him as a second option late in games, although the Clippers managed to tough out plenty of wins despite opponents honing in and fouling Jordan constantly.
In any case, the Clippers would hate to see Jordan leave without getting anything in return. If they sense that Jordan wants out of Los Angeles, they might hope he's leaning toward Dallas and that the sign-and-trade for Chandler becomes a viable option.
Kings Looking for Guards
The Sacramento Kings have held on to dominant center DeMarcus Cousins for now and appear to be focused on improving their backcourt and finding a partner for point guard Darren Collison. Per Broussard, the Kings are interested in a pair of free agents but haven't ruled out trading for the right fit at guard:
Jrue Holiday is a solid contributor but has played in just 74 games over the last two seasons for the New Orleans Pelicans. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game in 2014-15.
The Pelicans have a glut of point guards on their small roster and may feel they need more durability in the backcourt. A Holiday-Collison pairing would form an all-UCLA backcourt for the Kings, as both are committed defenders who played under Ben Howland in Westwood.
Ty Lawson is the most dynamic trade piece mentioned in Broussard's tweet. The speedster put up 15.1 points and 9.6 assists per game on a misshapen Denver Nuggets squad. Denver's been treading in place the past two seasons, and offloading him to the Kings for cheap, young assets like Ben Mclemore or Nik Stauskas might be the quickest way to a full-on rebuild.
However, at 5'11", Lawson would leave the Kings with a minuscule backcourt if he shared time with the 6'0" Collision. Same goes for the 6'1" Dennis Schroder, who impressed with a 15.74 player efficiency rating, via ESPN.com, in backup duty for the Atlanta Hawks last year.
Holiday is 6'4" and would give the team more flexibility in its pairings and better size if the Kings are truly interested in taking a page out of the Phoenix Suns' point guard-heavy playbook.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a unique asset in center Brendan Haywood's hefty, non-guaranteed contract. The 35-year-old has a $10.5 million cap hit for next season, per Spotrac, and is unnecessary in Cleveland with Timofey Mozgov in the fold and Anderson Varejao hopefully healthy for the upcoming season. Haywood played in just 22 games last season, with a measly 9.11 PER, via ESPN.com.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted Wednesday that the Cavs had several teams looking to trade for Haywood, no doubt looking to quickly waive him to create cap space:
The Sporting News' Daniel Leroux speculated on a few players whom the Cavaliers might be interested in trading for, as one of their biggest needs is depth and dynamism at point guard:
When thinking of potential uses for Haywood’s contract, start with situations where a team may be willing to let go of a useful player for financial reasons. Jarrett Jack in Brooklyn, O.J. Mayo in Milwaukee, Kevin Martin and/or Chase Budinger in Minnesota and Carl Landry in Sacramento all could work as targets along those lines.
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday that the Spurs were in talks with the Cavs for Haywood:
Cleveland could use the solid production and championship experience of point guard Patty Mills. However, the Spurs already cleared out some cap space in sending Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
In any case, it seems that the Cavs would have other teams willing to give up a role player in exchange for added flexibility, with prized free agents such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Jordan still available.
Plus, any team flush in cap space now would be in position to be extremely aggressive in free agency over the course of the next few years as the cap expands and the normal rules of engagement change dramatically.